Steve Levy, fondly known as Steve Bean was diagnosed with sino-nasal squamous cell carcinoma that led him to remove his nose.
"Levy, Steven Joseph, aka Steve Bean, 58, passed away on Monday, January 21, 2019, at home in Los Angeles, CA after a courageous battle against cancer. He was born on April 27, 1960, in Lynn, MA. Steve is survived by his wife, Caroline Carrigan; his son, Jacob Randall Levy; parents, Irwin and Dorothy Levy; sisters, Lauren Levy Brodie and her husband Todd and Jill Levy Sorota; nieces and nephews, Michael Miller, Allison Miller, Lindsey Sorota and Andrew Sorota; and great-niece, Amelia Wilcox. Steve also leaves behind 2 aunts, 3 uncles and many beloved cousins," reads his obituary on Legacy.com. The actor had lost his life to his 3-year-long battle with Sino-Nasal Squamous Cell Carcinoma or simply put, nose cancer. While this might come across as funny to quite a few, the reality of this is rather horrifying - if anything, it is a rather rare and very aggressive form of the disease.
"My name is Steve Bean Levy. I was a working actor (IMDb “Steve Bean”), a writer of humor, a teacher of improvisation and a maker of funny faces. In November of 2016, though, all of that went out the window. I began to experience chronic nosebleeds. Before long, I didn’t own a single T-shirt or pillowcase that wasn’t blood-stained. The nosebleeds were accompanied by severe congestion; by the end of each day, my sinuses would plug up completely, leaving me unable to breathe through my nose at all," the late actor wrote in an essay in the MEL Magazine.
Shortly after, he discovered that he had a rather deadly form of cancer. "Just before Christmas, I went to an ear, nose and throat specialist in Tarzana. He concluded that I had chronic sinusitis, polyps and a deviated septum, and informed me, rather boastfully, that a simple outpatient procedure would return me to normal. Almost. By now, my nose had swollen considerably; I looked like a retired boxer. I explained to Dr. Tarzana (not his real name) that I was an actor. I needed my nose to look like my nose. “No,” he said flatly, “Your nose will remain misshapen.” It was clear that he couldn’t have cared less," he revealed in the essay.
And according to the essay, things weren't particularly easy to deal with either. During the seven weeks of radiation, I had chemotherapy once a week. My chemo was administered intravenously; a session took about three hours. Chemo is poison; the purpose of the poison is to kill the cancer cells. But the poison also compromises your entire immune system. By the time my chemo treatments came to an end, I was back in the hospital with pneumonia. Fatigue had become overwhelming — before it was merely 'whelming,' " he said in the essay.
He also went on to explain how treatment for his condition led him to lose his appetite and how he struggled with eating disorders. And while the chemo may or may not have killed my cancer, it certainly killed my appetite. My taste buds were fried away. New baby buds grew in their place, but these new buds didn’t know how to taste yet, so everything tasted different than before. I didn’t know what was worse, the fact that nothing tasted good, or the fact that everything tasted bad. The thought of ingesting anything became repugnant. Caroline went to great pains to concoct delicious, nutritious smoothies for me, but all I could do was stare at them and try not to cry."
But what apparently helped him during these hard times was calling on the spirits of his two close friends who had died of cancer earlier. "Night after night I sat up in bed, staring at the latest smoothie, and fighting the sobs. What finally helped was this: I had two close friends who had died of cancer, Roger and Robert. I would call upon their strength: “Roger, Robert, please help me put this smoothie to my mouth. Please help me drink this smoothie.” And they always did." He also proceeded to talk about the mental illnesses that set in as well.
"For me, what happened was I forgot — or would forget — the word “tumor.” I would tell people about what had happened to me, and when I got to the part of the story where Dr. Blackwell removed my nose in order to remove my (tumor), the word just wouldn’t be there! This still happens. It’s as if when Blackwell removed the physical tumor from my sinus cavity, he also removed the word “tumor” from my brain," he explained, talking about his experiences with what the medical community refers to as “Chemo-Brain.” According to the late actor, it is very, very similar to dementia.
It was in the essay, which was published last year, that he revealed that his condition had led doctors to believe that he had only one more year to live. After talking about the numerous procedure he has already gone through and the numerous stitches that mark his face now, he speaks of death. "If you’re keeping track at home, I’ve now lost my nose, my tear ducts, my upper palate and gums, all but four of my teeth, my appetite, my right cheekbone, much of my right jawbone, much of my right cheek, my eyebrows and moustache (chemo), the feeling in my upper lip (surgery), most of the motor control of the right side of my face (surgery) and some hearing in each ear (chemo). I also lost about 40 pounds, and worst of all, I lost my sense of humor. All of that physical stuff ain’t ever coming back. Luckily, my sense of humor came back about a month ago. Not a moment too soon either: The latest scans show yet another recurrence of cancer. The doctors tell me I have nine to twelve months to live," he concludes.